Many people consider Thai food to be the best culinary experience in the world – but only if it’s done right.
At its best, Thai food is light, healthy, deliciously fragrant and full of vegetables, and not necessarily fiery hot.
We are very fortunate to have one of the most travelled and experienced chefs in the world to help us create a delicious dish, filled with the very best that Thai food has to offer.
Here are three of the best Thai recipes from Brett McGregor’s cookbook.
Thai Beef Salad
Let’s start at the beginning with a staple of Thai food. A Thai beef salad is simple to make, quick to prepare, and tastes delicious! You can substitute prawns or chicken for the beef and it will still be one of the most popular dishes in Thailand.
- 500g Angus beef sirloin steak brushed with2 tbsp red curry paste
- 1 tbsp Extra Virgin Peanut oil
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 2 red chillies- finely diced
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 2 tbsp palm sugar- grated
- 1 tsp Extra Virgin Sesame Oil
- 3 cups baby spinach
- 1 cup fresh coriander- roughly chopped
- 1 cup fresh mint- roughly chopped
- 100g snow peas – trimmed and sliced on an angle
- ½ cucumber- sliced
- 2 shallots – sliced thinly
- 16 cherry tomatoes- sliced in half
- ¼ cup peanuts- toasted and coarsely chopped.
Start by trimming any excess fat from the beef sirloin, then place into a shallow dish and drizzle with the red curry paste. Sprinkle the black pepper over the steaks and rub into the meat. There should be an even covering of pepper on each side of the steak.
Heat a large non-stick pan on high until very hot. Gently lay the steaks and do not move them. Reduce heat to medium-high and cook for around 3 minutes on each side. This recipe is at its best when the meat is served medium-rare. However, if you like your steaks medium do not turn until you see a little blood coming to the top of each steak. Turn and repeat the process. Then remove and rest for at least 8 minutes.
Place the chilli, lime juice, fish sauce, palm sugar, and the sesame oil into a jar, tighten the lid and shake until well combined. Set aside.
In a large bowl gently combine the spinach, coriander (reserving some for garnish), mint, snow peas, cucumber, shallots and tomatoes.
Arrange salad ingredients into four bowls. Slice the steak into thin strips and evenly distribute on top of the salad. Using a teaspoon drizzle the dressing over the steak, then sprinkle over remaining coriander and peanuts.
Thai Spicy Chicken Wings (Peek Gai Nam Daeng) Recipe
These chicken wings, infused with authentic Thai spices and flavours, might just be the best thing you’ll ever taste!
Chicken is a huge part of the Thai diet, but nowhere else on Earth is it prepared with such delicious seasoning, resulting in a mouth-watering dish that’s the embodiment of Thailand.
- Olivado High Heat Oil or Natural Avocado Cooking Oil for frying
- 1 kg free-range chicken wings
- Salt to taste
- 1/2 cup tapioca starch
- 2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Peanut oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 small shallots, minced
- 1 small onion, minced
- 2 medium tomatoes, cored and finely chopped
- 1 cup ketchup
- 2 tablespoons Sriracha or any Asian hot sauce
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tablespoon Chinese cooking wine
- 1/4 cup roasted peanuts, chopped
- Celery Sticks
- Coriander leaves
Pour enough oil in a 6-quart Dutch oven, about 1.5-2 inches high. Heat it at medium heat until the temperature reaches approximately 400°F (200°C).
In a bowl, season the chicken wings with salt to taste. Add in the tapioca starch and toss to coat.
When the high heat oil is ready for frying, working in batches, slowly add the chicken wings to the oil. Cook, turning occasionally, until the chicken wings are golden brown and crisp, about 10-12 minutes. Transfer the chicken wings to a rack over a baking sheet to drain.
In a 6-quart saucepan, heat the peanut oil over medium heat. Add in the garlic, shallots and onion. Stir well until the ingredients turn brown.
Then add in the tomatoes and cook while stirring until soft and smooth. Add in the ketchup, Sriracha, soy sauce, sugar, oyster sauce and water. Stir until it slightly thickens. Then add in the wine and give it a quick stir. Add the chicken wings to the sauce and toss to coat.
Transfer the chicken wings to a serving plate, sprinkle the chopped peanut and serve with cilantro and celery on the side. If there’s any extra sauce, transfer into a bowl and serve it with the chicken wings.
I cut the chicken wings into two parts, the wings and the drummettes for easier cooking.
I used Shaoxing cooking wine.
Originating on the Indonesian island of Java, satay has spread across South East Asia, becoming a firm favourite in many countries, each with their own versions.
Thailand Satay has various recipes, from chicken, beef, and pork, to vegetarian variants that employ soy protein strips or tofu, but is almost always made with peanut sauce.
Because of the popularity of Thai food around the globe, many people believe that Satay is originally a Thai dish, but with the evolution of the recipes from the original, it can be argued that Thai Satay is its own thing, different from the Indonesian original.
- 200f beef, chicken, pork
- ½ cup coconut cream
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tbsp condensed milk
- 1 tbsp palm sugar
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- Dash whiskey/bourbon
- 16 skewers – soaked
- Blitz together:
- 2 shallots
- Pinch salt
- 3 tbsp roasted peanuts
- 1 tbsp toasted coriander seeds
- 1 tsp toasted cumin
Mix this paste with first 7 ingredients.
Cover and let marinate overnight or until marinade is absorbed
- 3-5 chillies, deseeded, pureed
- Pinch of salt
- 3 shallots, peeled and chopped
- ½ cup vinegar
- 1-2 tbsp castor sugar
Puree the chilli, salt & shallots, and then season with sugar and vinegar, giving a “Hot, sweet, salty, sour” mix.
Thread the meat onto a skewer and simply grill over hot charcoal or on the bbq.
Serve with dipping sauce and you’re good to go!
A taste of Thailand in your home
Top Kiwi Chef Brett McGregor has travelled all over Thailand, learning from local chefs how to make Thai food the way it’s been made for centuries.
His travel show, Taste of a Traveller, saw Brett traverse the planet, discovering local, authentic recipes from some of the world’s top chefs.
If you would like to know more about Brett, then check out his website here.